Because I’m 21 and Feel Like I’ve Learned A Lot
October 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
So there comes a time in everyone’s life when they turn 21. Trust me, it happens. And at this time we feel as though we know things about life. Or maybe it’s that we know and have experienced so little it tricks us into thinking we know things. I swear, you can find about 60 blogs titled “20 things I learned by time I was 20”. Google it. Either way, I’m 21, a senior in college and feel as though I have a few things I need to share with ya’ll. Maybe it’s perspective. Perspective for the high schoolers who
think they know everything about life (it’s cool I knew nothing everything too at your age), for the early twentiers who feel like the only ones who are lost, for the post twentiers who think we don’t know anything (I promise, we have had some life experience worth listening to). And we’re off.
1. Nobody knows what they’re doing. This is so important to remember. Heading into the “real world” I feel as though everyone has their life together. They know what they want, where they want to go, who they want to be. Truth is, nobody knows anything. 74% of college graduates don’t choose a career related to their degree. Seventy four percent! I’m kidding, I made that statistic up. But really, a ton of people do that. So if you don’t know what you’re doing, join the club. We’re getting t-shirts.
2. It’s ok to be poor. It’s actually kind of fun. And by fun I mean it’s terrifying and liberating and worryful (not a word) and adventurous. Being poor, especially when you’re young, gives you a chance to learn the difference between want and need. One of the most important things to learn. It also teaches you how to save. Yes, it means you can’t go get that frozen yogurt with your friends. It means you may have to eat soup a few times a week. But let’s be serious, soup is amazing. Understanding and appreciating the hard work you put in to making that money you have is rewarding. Be proud of living paycheck to paycheck. It makes grocery shopping so much more creative!
3. Suck up to your superiors. This sounds shallow. But it’s life. You will never understand how important it is to be nice and professional to those who decide your future until you understand. Be friends with your professors. They know everyone and that will help you get a job. Be polite and professional to your boss. She will make your job easier to go to and will give you a killer recommendation when you need to leave. Be a schmoozer but that doesn’t mean you bring in cupcakes to your professor’s office hours. Be nice, be polite, be professional.
4. Don’t let others’ happiness make you feel less about yours. This is tricky. A lot of your friends will get really opportunities and it will seem like they didn’t even try, when you’ve sent your resume to 20 different people without any positive response. Just because something great happened to them, does not mean your opportunities and accomplishments are any less great. Congratulate them (without resentment and sarcasm) and keep your eyes ahead. Move forward and work even harder. Let it motivate you, not destroy you.
5. Take education seriously, and don’t take life too seriously. Best advise I have ever been given. You will never get another opportunity like high school or college ever again. You get 4 years to learn in an environment where the sole purpose is for you to learn. You have absolutely no other responsibilities but to understand and soak up as much knowledge as you can. Don’t take advantage of that. Take classes that interest you and challenge you. Quench your thirst for knowledge. (That was cheesy). On the other hand, don’t take life too seriously. The real world is important and inevitable. You need a job, you need responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Do something you love, go places you’ve never been. Don’t consume yourself with work. Don’t let The Man get you down!
6. Don’t settle. This is applicable to every single aspect of your life. If there’s something you’re not happy about in your life change it. It’s pretty incredible that you have the power to do that. My dad always asks me “Are you happy with your life?” he then follows that up with “Because if you’re not I want to make sure it’s not permanent.” It’s ok not to be happy all the time. No one can be. But if that unhappiness continues for awhile, you need to fix it. Don’t settle for that boyfriend who only calls you when he feels like. Don’t settle for living near home when you wanted to live 8+ states away. Don’t settle for that job you dread going to when you wake up in the morning. Life is too short and important to settle for “it’s fine”.
And to wrap it up, a few short words from the kind of wise:
– Be afraid of your dreams
– Friendships/relationships are more important than anything else in your life
– Have hobbies
– Read a lot
– Meet people anytime you go somewhere new
– Take naps
– Get dressed up when you have the chance
– Spend money on traveling
– Keep an open mind and listen more than you speak